The Death of Clubz, Fannin County, Texas

 

By Judge J. P. Simpson

En the year 1842, Judge English, Maj. Barker, John B. Denton, James S. Baker and others left Fort English on a tour of exploration of the country on the waters of the Trinity River there being no settlement at that time in the territory south-west of Fort English, out of which Collin, Dallas and other counties were afterwards organized.

They examined critically for the most suitable sections for location and survey, viewing the rich soil, beauty and grandeur of the Trinity country, together with the romantic scenery spread out before them. Traveling down some of the tributaries of the Trinity until they struck the main river, they selected Cedar Springs, and where the city of Dallas now stands, and many other choice places for future location. They then started for home, traveling north-east, without a road or path to guide them.

In the company was a Polander from Fort Towson in the Choctaw Nation, whose character, person and manners indicated the perfect gentleman and scholar. His name was Clubz, and his broken English was vastly amusing to the entire company, with whom he was a general favorite.

On the way home they discovered not far from them in a dense thicket smoke rising from a camp fire. Indians were instantly suspected, and preparations made at once for examination and attack. The two old men, Judge English and Maj. Baker, were selected to guard and take care of the horses. Guns were examined and every thing made ready for battle. Then they advanced cautiously and silently the Polander in front, eager for the conflict. When they arrived at the place, there sat a fine looking Indian with a white shirt on, viewing himself in a looking glass.

There were also a number of squaws and children around the camp the warriors it was supposed being out on a hunt. Quick as thought, the whites arose from their ambush and fired at the breast of the Indian, who pitched forward and fell dead. The women and children ran and hid themselves in the brush. Supposing the warriors to be in hearing of the guns and would hasten back to camp and pursue and attack them, the policy .of the whites was to get away as soon as possible to their horses, and so they started. But a familiar voice in front imploringly called them not to leave him to be scalped by the Indians. They turned to see what was the matter and to their surprise and horror there lay their comrade the Polander, writhing in the agonies of death. They carried him back to the horses, but, poor fellow he was dead, having been shot by some one of the company who was in the rear; they being excited, had fired at random, and a chance shot had pierced him through. Gloom and melancholy sat on every countenance; but no time was to be lost. They lashed him on his horse, and traveled with speed till night, when they halted, and in a point of Brushy Prairie, there with their knives and hatchets, they dug a grave and deposited the body of Mr. Clubz, with no mark or sign to designate his last resting place.

The company traveled the remainder of the night, guided by the stars there being no roads nor paths in the country. Near daylight they halted and camped, considering themselves out of danger of pursuit, in deep gloom on account of the unfortunate death of one of their colleagues.

On their return home, when in conversation on the subject, I could see profound sorrow on their countenances.

Reader, I have two reasons for writing this sketch. One is, that when reviewing these exciting incidents which transpired thirty-five years ago, it drives from the old man's mind those melancholy thoughts and feelings to which age is subject. The other is, that this sketch may possibly fall into the hands of some friend or relative of the unfortunate Polander who would like to know what became of their lost friend or brother. He was entitled to land under the preemption laws, which I presume, never has been attended to by any person.

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